Oh, snap!  It’s that time again, when I drive off my readership writing about, wait for it,  cycling!  Spring classics season is winding up for the first Grand Tour of the year, the weather here has finally taken a turn for the better, and the souplesse is slowly returning to the legs.  The big news is that I’ve finally signed up to do a small race here at the end of May, the 100 Miles of Nowhere!  I’ll be riding a little more than 71 laps around the Hippodrome de Longchamps the last weekend in May.  The city of Paris, in a program named “Paris Respire,” closes a good stretch of the streets to cars on Sundays, leaving them open for walkers, bikers, and rollerbladers (yes, that’s still a thing here).    It turns out there is a 1.4 mile loop around the Hippodrome de Longchamps (just past Roland Garros and through the Bois de Boulogne) that is popular with cyclists (why did no one mention this to me earlier?)  The horses and whores should keep things interesting, even if the terrain doesn’t change!  Ostensibly, the race is to raise money for LiveStrong, but it looks like donating to LiveStrong is the philanthropic equivalent of lighting cubans with hundred dollar bills.  Instead, if you’re feeling charitable, I would suggest a great organization like The Harbour.

In other news, who watched Liege-Bastogne-Liege yesterday?  (No one raises hand.)  Belgian Philippe Gilbert’s dominance over all three of the Ardennes classics (plus De Brabantse Pijl) will probably be the greatest performance in sport in 2011.  If you haven’t heard, Belgium has been without a national government for just short of a year, with no reconciliation in sight.  I’ve spent some time trying to understand the current Belgian political climate, and gotten nowhere with it. After reading quite a bit, I can tell you, with certainty, that the Lion Flag of Flanders is way cooler than the Bold Rooster Flag of Wallonia.  That’s all I’ve got.

But, if anyone can reunite the Flemish and French speaking parts of Belgium, my money is on Gilbert.  As the announcers on France3 suggested during yesterday’s L-B-L coverage, Gilbert for Belgian president!